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Imprisoned Iranian Journalists and Politicians

22 Jun 2009 00:2125 Comments

*** new names offered by those posting will be added to the list even though we have not confirmed them independently.


Since June 13, the start of nationwide demonstrations and protests against Iran's rigged presidential elections began, a clampdown on many of the leading reformist politicians, as well as journalists and bloggers, has been under way. Many have been arrested and imprisoned.

There are strong rumors that some of them, including Messrs Tajzadeh, Ramazanpour, and Aminzadeh (see below), are under strong pressure to "confess" to planning the demonstrations well in advance of the elections, and having "connections" with foreign powers. The following is a list of those whose arrest and imprisonment have been confirmed, together with a brief background for each.


Dr. Mohsen Aminzadeh: Member of the Student Followers of Imam's Line (SFIL), the leftist group of the students who took over the United State Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979; Deputy Foreign Minister in the Khatami administration; member of the Central Committee of the Islamic Revolution Mojahedin Organization (IRMO), one of the two leading reformist parties; founding member of the reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), Iran's largest political party; director of the Mousavi campaign.

Dr. Saeed Hajjarian: Member of SFIL; leading reformist strategist; advisor to Mohammad Khatami during his presidency; editor-in-chief of Sobh-e Emrooz (This Morning), a leading reformist newspaper shut down by the hard-liners; member of the Central Committee of the IIPF; deputy Minister of Intelligence in the 1980s; member of the SFILM; handicapped by an assassination attempt on his life in March 2000.

Behzad Nabavi: Leading reformist strategist, a founder, and member of the Central Committee of IRMO; Deputy Speaker of the 6th Majles (parliament); chief negotiator with the United States that led to the release of the American hostages in 1981; Minister in the first Mousavi Cabinet in the 1980s; jailed for years by the Shah.

Mohammad Tavassoli: Tehran's first mayor after the 1979 Revolution; member of the Central Committee and political director of the Freedom Movement of Iran (FMI), a reformist/centrist political party founded in 1961 by Mahdi Bazargan, the first prime minister after the 1979 Revolution; jailed for years by the Shah.

Mostafa Tajzadeh: Deupty Interior Minister in the first Khatami administration who supervised the elections for the first city councils and the 6th Majles, a process praised for its even-handedness and transparency; member of the Central Committees of both IIPF and IRMO; outspoken critic of the hard-liners.

Dr. Abdollah Ramazanzadeh: Deputy Secretary-General of the IIPF; Government spokesman during the second Khatami administration; Governor-General of the Kurdistan province; deputy Interior Minister for planning, and for political affairs.

Mohammad Ali Abtahi: Chief of Staff, and then Vice President to Mr. Khatami for parliamentary affairs; a principal advisor to Mahdi Karroubi (the second reformist candidate) in the 2009 presidential election; popular reformist cleric who writes for his own website/blog, www.webnevesht.com ; a leading member of the Association of the Combatant Clerics, the reformist leftist clerical organization that supports Mr. Mousavi.

Dr. Ebrahimi Yazdi: Secretary-General of the FMI; Foreign Minister in the Bazargan government after the 1979 Revolution; leading aid to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini during the Revolution (he was arrested while hospitalized for a medical condition; it is said that he may have been released).

Dr. Mohsen Mirdamadi: Secretary-General of the IIPF; chairman of the 6th Majles' Committee on National Security; one of the three principal leaders of SFIL who took over the US Embassy in 1979.

Mohammad Atrianfar: Deputy Interior Minister in the first Khatami administration; member of the Central Committee of the Executives of Reconstruction Party (ERP), a reformist party; editor-in-chief of the popular daily Hamshahri (owned by Tehran's city council) during the second Khatami administration; manager of Shargh, a popular daily reformist newspaper shut down by the hardliners.

Mohsen Safaei Farahani: Member of the Central Committee of the IIPF; former head of Iran's Soccer Federation, deputy Minister of Economy in the Khatami administration.

Hedayatollah Aghaaei: Member of the Central Committee of the ERP.

Davood Soleimani: Deputy Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance for Domestic Press in the first Khatami administration; Tehran deputy in the 6th Majles; member of the Central Committee of the IIPF.

Dr. Ali Tajer Niya: Mashhad's [a large city in northeastern Iran] deputy to the 6th Majles; member of the campaign team of Mr. Mousavi; member of the IIPF.

Jahanbakhsh Khanjani: Spokesman for the Interior Ministry during the Khatami administrations; member of the ERP.

Saeed Leylaaz: Economic advisor to the Khatami administration; journalist; strong critic of President Ahmadinejad's economic policies.

Abdolfattah Soltani: Prominent attorney and member of the Center for the Defense of Human Rights (founded by Shirin Ebadi, Iran's Nobel Laureate for Peace); attorney for several jailed human rights advocates; attorney for the mother of Dr. Zahra Kazemi, the photojournalist that was murdered in an Iranian jail; imprisoned for his human rights activities.

Shahab Tabatabaei: Director of the youth committee of the Mousavi campaign.

Mohammad Reza Jalaei Pour: Director and spokesman of the nation-wide movement, Pouyesh, that supports Mr. Mousavi; son of the well-known university professor and reformist journalist Dr. Hamid Reza Jalaei Pour.

Abdollah Momeni: former Secretary-General of the Office for Consolidation of Unity (known in Iran as Tahkim Vahdat, the largest nation-wide university student organization), and the Organization of University Graduates of Islamic Iran (known in Iran as Advaar-e Tahkim); a prominent political activist.

Rajabali Mazrouei: Member of the Central Committee of the IIPF; Isfahan's deputy to the 6th Majles; journalist, and director of the Association of Iranian Journalists

Journalists and Bloggers

Mahsa Amrabadi: reporter for the E'temaad-e Melli (National Trust) daily, the mouthpiece of the National Trust Party of Mr. Mahdi Karroubi, the reformist candidate.

Karim Arghandehpour: journalist writing for reformist newspapers Salaam and Vaghaa-ye Ettefaaghiyeh, both of which were shut down by the hard-liners. He also has a blog, www.futurama.ir

Khalil Mir Ashrafi: A television producer and journalist

Behzad Basho: Cartoonist

Kayvan Samimi Behbahani: Managing editor of Naameh (Letter), a monthly publication, close ties to the Nationalist-Religious Coalition (NRC)

Somayyeh Tohidloo: a blogger at http://smto.ir ; political activist; sociologist; supporter of Mr. Mousavi

Abdolreza Tajik: political activist, economist, and close to the FMI and the NRC

Dr. Ahmad Zeydabadi: distinguished journalist writing for www.roozonline.com and print media in Iran; Secretary-General of the Organization of University Graduates of Islamic Iran (Advaar-e Tahkim); a supporter of Mr. Karroubi; close to the RNC.

Mojtaba Pourmohsen: editor of Gilaan-e Emrooz (Today's Gilaan; Gilaan is a province in northern Iran, bu the Caspian Sea); contributor to Radio Zamaneh (a Persian radio in Holland).

Hamideh Mahhozi: a journalist active in southern Iran

Amanollah Shojaei: a blogger living in Bushehr, in southern Iran

Hossein Shokouhi: reporter and journalist writing for Payaam-e Jonoob (the Message of the South), in southern Iran.

Mashallah Haydarzadeh: Another journalist active in southern Iran

Ruhollah Shahsavar: A journalist working in Mashhad (in northeaster Iran)

Mohammad Ghoochani: prominent reformist journalist, editor of many reformist newspapers shut down by the hardliners (e.g., Shargh [East]; Hammihan [Compatriot], and the weekly, Shahrvand Emrooz [Today's Citizen]); editor of E'temaad Melli; son-in-law of Mr. Emad Baghi, the prominent journalist and human rights advocate.

Jila Baniyaghoob: prominent female journalist, working previously for many reformist newspapers; editor of the website Kannon-e Zanaan-e Irani (Center for Iranian Women); writing at http://irwomen.net

Bahman Ahmadi Amooee: journalist and husband of Jila Baniyaghoob

Eisa Sahar Khiz: an outspoken journalist who has been a critic of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei; contributor to www.roozonline.com director in charge of the domestic press during the first two years of Mr. Khatami's presidency, during which the Iranian press flourished.

These courageous men and women have done nothing other than defending the human and political rights of their Iranian compatriots. They deserve the support of all those who care about human dignity and freedom.


Names coming through posts [not verified]:

Mostafa Ghajar Journalist reportedly arrested 22 June



NEWSWEEK Reporter Detained

Journalist and filmmaker Maziar Bahari was taken into custody without charge on Sunday morning in Tehran.

NEWSWEEK Magazine issued the following statement on June 21:

On Sunday morning in Tehran, Newsweek's Maziar Bahari was detained without charge by Iranian authorities and has not been heard from since. Mr. Bahari is a Canadian citizen and a renowned journalist and filmmaker, who has been living in and covering Iran for the past decade. Newsweek strongly condemns this unwarranted detention, and calls upon the Iranian government to release him immediately.

Mr. Bahari's coverage of Iran, for Newsweek and other outlets, has always been fair and nuanced, and has given full weight to all sides of the issues. He has worked well with different administrations in Tehran, including the current one. Since the elections over 20 journalists and bloggers have reportedly been detained; the seizure of innocent journalists is a violation of the right to a free press in Iran. Newsweek asks that world governments use whatever influence they have with the government in Tehran to make clear that this detention is unwarranted and unacceptable, and to demand Mr. Bahari's release.


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Amir Sadeghi - Photojournalist/blogger www.tehranlive.com. missing since may 19

Joe / June 21, 2009 9:58 PM

Amir Sadeghi - Photojournalist/blogger http://www.tehranlive.org/

Missing since may 19

Joe / June 21, 2009 10:00 PM

I've been following Amir's work as well. I think the reports from friends and family are that he went out on Saturday, 20 June/30 Khordad, to the demonstrations and did not return.

They say they don't know what happened but are very worried. I also think there is a certain amount of caution at this point about what to publicize, and it might even be a smart defense to go to ground so as not to be found. I hope but doubt that that is what happened.

Looks like his work before the last week or so was mostly nonpolitical, documenting ordinary life in Tehran, etc. He's quite a good photographer and was taking incredible risks.

Last series of photos was published at tehranlive.org Wednesday. The one from Life magazine dated 6/19 is incorrectly dated: Friday was not a day of demonstrations, and I'd seen that one earlier.

But, again, his site's commenters said on June 21 (at a time when it was not yet 6/21 here, I think) that he went out "last night," there were clashes, and he never came home. So I put it as Saturday.

akr / June 22, 2009 2:04 AM

This list would be exponentially more helpful if it were alphabetical. FYI.

Michael Marcusi / June 22, 2009 2:11 AM

Set free all these people or suffer the consequences.

shetty / June 22, 2009 3:59 AM

Isa Sahrkhiz, Journalist arrested 1 hr. ago in Tehran

Joe / June 22, 2009 6:47 AM

Keep flooding the world with the info....as long as you can...as much as you can. We ARE watching! We DO care!

Hope / June 22, 2009 10:17 AM

re Amir Sadeqhi - no new info - just a little more context. That photo that Life magazine dated 6/19 was first posted 6/13. I think it's the day that got him in trouble, though not particularly for that photo.


I continue to assume it was Saturday that he disappeared.

akr / June 22, 2009 11:23 AM

edit: Sadeghi, I believe, not Sadeqhi, though I'd like to see it written in Persian script. Transliteration from Persian seems to follow slightly different rules than from Arabic. Regardless, I think he transliterates it as Sadeghi, and it's his name, so I will follow suit.

akr / June 22, 2009 11:33 AM

Power to the Iranian People! Respect their rights and freedom of expression. The Great Iranian Islamic Revolution was the promise of the revolutionaries then. Don't fail those martyr's who shed their lives and future for the cause against the then tyrant regime influenced by the west before the Islamic Revolution. So please, to all progressive, freedom loving, and pro-peace Iranians in Iran and around the world the world is watching and we support your struggle and your voices. Stand up and be strong. God loves those who love and respect human rights.

Spread the words! Don't stop and get intimidated! The Real Revolutionaries are those who respect the cause and the real priciples of THE GREAT ISLAMIC REVOLUTION and not those tyrants hiding in the name of "revolutionaries and revolution."

Our prayers to all the martyrs of recent mass movements. The cowardice act of those in power will not last because their credibility to call themselves "revolutionaries" is dead gone.

PinoyForPeace / June 22, 2009 11:38 AM

re: pinoy: i think this site is infiltrated.

akr / June 22, 2009 11:46 AM

therefore even more determined that if I donate it will be via the Nieman Foundation, not directly via the website.

akr / June 22, 2009 11:49 AM

(sorry, pinoy, if I misread you: but caution is now necessary)

akr / June 22, 2009 11:50 AM

No worries AKR..

We Filipinos in the Philippines supports the call for the release of unjust and warrant less arrest against the freedom loving people and personalities in Iran. our prayers for their safe and unconditional release.

News blackout, killings, and intimidation are the only answers of the people in power to cover-up their failure and their own fear.

God bless.

PinoyForPeace / June 22, 2009 12:20 PM

The Wallstreet Journal today had a front page article on how Iran's Telecommunications Infrastructure company (run by the government) is performing deep packet inspection and reading all internet and mobile phone traffic to determine who is posting. That technology supplied by Siemens and Nokia allow all traffic to be read for content as well as changed to insert disinformation.

Big brother has made it to Iran and is flourishing.


"Remember Neda"

Bob / June 22, 2009 1:32 PM

On Tehranlive.org is has been posted that Amir Sadeghi is held at Evin Prison :-(


Maisen / June 22, 2009 1:52 PM

Hello all, take my best wishes for your fight and I hope everything will work out as you want it.

Christina / June 22, 2009 2:23 PM


The world is following every action in Iran: go for it!

You deserve fair elections!

I wish you very very much luck for all the persons missing.

Latest update: tuesday strike in Iran.

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Susi / June 22, 2009 4:25 PM

Mostafa Ghajar Journalist - Arrested a few Mins Ago in his home, while his 4 month baby terorized with a couple of Secret Agents. source twitter, half an hour ago

please admins, update your list with the names being posted in the comments.

FreeIran / June 22, 2009 4:58 PM

It's sad to know that every minute or hours that pass us by, they are arresting people. The Iranian people just want their votes to be counted fairly and their voices be heard and instead the state answered back with killings, unjust house to house arrests, curtailed press freedom and freedom of expression, harassment,and lies.

The world is watching. The state brutality against their people must end. The modern day martyrs and heroes like Neda and their courage will be written in history.

Take care people of Iran. You are not alone.

Filipinos supports your cause. I know how the Iranian students here are bothered of what is happening in their country. Most of the students and graduates here are/were dentist, doctors of medicine, nurses etc. We are also thinking of their safety.

We pray that the arrest will stop and the hierarchy in power realize what they have done.

LET'S Pray for the safety of those who were injured and arrested.

PinoyForPeace / June 22, 2009 7:24 PM

to pinoy: thanks for your forgiveness earlier. I wish I could have you speak with the Filipino-American doctor I work with who thinks I'm being terribly naive, while I think he's being terribly cynical and at least as ignorant of Iranian history & culture as I am of Filipino history & culture (although not so ignorant as not to know that Marcos was taken down by popular revolt). He just sees Tiananmen. I don't, although I'm not really expecting anything transformative, although I now see it as possible. I really hope he's wrong.

Ah, well. Meantime let's focus on what, if anything, we can do.

It's well into daytime in Iran, I should really be checking for evidence of whether or not the proposed national strike is taking hold.

- ann.

akr / June 23, 2009 6:32 AM

General Strike in Iran?

Do you think a general strike would be an effective way to influence the rulers of Iran to hold new elections?

Would the May 1968 general strike in France be a useful point of reference, in any way?

See information about a GENERAL STRIKE tactic FOR IRAN at


Brad Belden / June 23, 2009 10:00 PM

Hi we confirm Amir Sadeghi is arrest. and now he is in Evin.

shayan shalileh / June 25, 2009 1:25 AM

According to very reliable sources, Amir Sadeghi has been released and is at home. Thank you very much for listing him here. It was important.

Neylan Gurel / June 28, 2009 7:47 PM

Terhan based photographer, Amir Sadeghi has been arrested by government authorities again on Feb. 8, 2010 for publishing photos of the demonstrations and subsequent clampdown on the said demonstrations. He was arrested and released last June after his work was published in LIFE Magazine. Please spread this message. Please lend your support. May he and the other journalists be safe. http://persian2english.com/?p=6175

Dianne / February 10, 2010 11:04 AM